Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
... want a double dissolution, as they stand in the greatest risk of losing standing. Under the Coalition agreement, the number of ministers (or, in opposition, shadow ministers) held by the Nationals depends on their share of the seats held by the Coalition. While the Nationals are not likely to lose many current seats in a double dissolution, they are in danger of losing Senate seats if the ALP were able to paint the double dissolution as "the Coalition's fault" and the Coalition lost support in the election.

In a double dissolution, a full Senate is elected, 12 Senators from each state (plus two from each territory) so the quota is 1/13 of the state vote plus one vote ... roughly 7.7%. Since the Green vote is about that nationwide, and above that in Tasmania (in this last election, Bob Brown of Tasmania received more than a full quota, which would be enough to elect two Green Senators in a double dissolution election, and leave open the possibility of returning three) ... so they could easily rise in power from 5 to 7 (of 76) and hold the balance of power.

It is therefore no surprise that Barnaby Joyce (the National Senator who has most often expressed the view that a Senator should vote his or her conscience in representing the voters of his or her state, rather than follow a party line) has expressed the view that changed to Work Choices that are in line with the ALP election platform ought to receive support ... that the ALP in government has received a "mandate" and its not the job of a Senator to oppose the people's will.

Of course, Joyce is from Queensland, where the ALP made substantial in-roads in this last election (both the new PM and Treasurer are QLDers ... indeed, both went to the same secondary school), and so if he follows through on what he seems to be saying, this principled stand would also be politically astute ... he is probably better off standing for re-election in three years time than sometime in 2008.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Dec 22nd, 2007 at 05:18:50 PM EST
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